College Basketball Betting Report on Atlantic 10: State of League, Players to Watch & More
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Osun Osunniyi (St. Bonaventure)
Spurred by the return of center Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure was the preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10 media polls. Osunniyi is one of five Bonnies averaging double figures in scoring.
The Bonnies remain the betting favorite in the A-10, but five teams currently sit inside KenPom's top-100.
With conference play around the corner, is there better value elsewhere?
St. Bonaventure Bonnies (+170 FanDuel)
After winning the A-10 regular season and conference tournament titles last season, the Bonnies were expected to run it back with five senior starters returning.
St. Bonaventure did get off to an 8-1 start, but it is currently on a two-game losing streak. The Bonnies lost to UConn by 10 and suffered an ugly 37-point loss at Virginia Tech.
St. Bonaventure has been a better offensive team this season, which bodes well considering last year's conference-heavy schedule. However, it needs to gets back to the level it played at defensively in order to repeat.
Last year, the Bonnies were 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 28th in defensive rating. This year, they rank 103th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 252nd in defensive rating.
Davidson Wildcats (+550 DraftKings)
Davidson was picked to finish sixth in the conference in the preseason polls, however, it might prove those projections to be too low.
The Wildcats will enter conference play with momentum, as they are riding a nine-game winning streak. That includes a win over No. 10 Alabama in Birmingham last Tuesday.
At +550, there is still some value on Davidson to win the A-10 regular-season title. Davidson is currently the highest-ranked team in the conference, according to KenPom, at 55th nationally.
It is also the best offensive team in the conference, ranking 22nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 15th in offensive rating. The Wildcats are third nationally in 3-point shooting at 42.4%.
The Wildcats will look to ride their offense to a regular-season conference title.
Richmond has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2011, but it will have a shot to end that drought this year.
The Spiders returned four starters from last year's team, led by forwards Tyler Burton and Grant Golden. Richmond is 44th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 66th in offensive rating. As a team, it shoots 36.7% from deep.
The Spiders' offense could get even better if guard Nick Sherod returns to form. Sherod has battled injuries throughout his career and missed all of last season.
However, from 2018-2020, he averaged 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting 41.3% from 3. This year, Sherod is averaging just 7.1 points per game and shooting 30.9% from the floor.
Keep An Eye On
Saint Louis is the highest scoring team in the conference at 82.1 points per game, and is 18th in offensive rating. The Billikens will head into conference play losing three out of their last four games.
However, just before the Christmas break, Saint Louis nearly upset No. 10 Auburn and squandered a 13-point second half lead. We know it can play with anyone.
The Billikens will need improve on the defensive end to emerge as a conference title contender. They are 106th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 123rd in defensive rating.
VCU is an interesting team to keep an eye as a contender in the A-10, given the differences in the market. The Rams are +1500 to win the conference on DraftKings, but +600 on FanDuel.
VCU has the best defense in the conference, which will give it a chance. It ranks third in adjusted defensive efficiency, sixth in defensive rating and 10th in points allowed.
However, the Rams are 270th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 343rd in both scoring offense and offensive rating. That will need to improve if the Rams hope to be a contender.
While some teams in the conference lean more toward offense (Davidson) or defense (VCU), Rhode Island is above average in both areas. The Rams are 85th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 71st in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Rhode Island does not take many 3s — 349th in attempts — but it makes 36.8% of them. However, it makes 55% of its 2-point attempts and is 12th in field goal percentage overall.
Defensively, the Rams are seventh in field goal percentage defense, sixth in 2-point percentage defense and fifth in blocked shots.
Players to Watch
Burton is the leading scorer in the A-10 at 18.8 points per game. He is seventh in the conference in rebounding at seven per game. Burton has been deadly from beyond the arc, shooting 44.9% (ninth in the A-10) on 5.3 attempts per game. He has formed a potent duo with Golden.
The 6-foot-10 big man, Golden, is seventh in the conference in scoring at 16.2 points per game. He is also averaging six rebounds and 3.5 assists per night. Like his frontcourt mate, Golden can stretch the defense from deep. He is 10th in the conference in 3-point percentage at 44.4%.
Lee has improved every season, and he is averaging career highs in scoring, rebounds and field goal percentage.
The junior is third in the conference in scoring at 17.5 points per game. He is shooting 42% from 3.
If the Bonnies take home the conference title again, Holmes will be a big reason why. The senior stuffs the stat sheet in a lot of areas.
He is averaging 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and one steal per game. He is 11th in the conference in scoring, 14th in rebounding and sixth in assists.
Collins is the engine behind the Billikens' high-powered attack. The sophomore is averaging 10.1 points, 7.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
He leads the conference in assists and is second in steals.
Games to Watch
Richmond vs. Saint Louis
Saint Louis has won five of the last six meetings in this series, but the games have been close. All but one of those meetings have been decided by seven points or less.
I would lean toward the Billikens or the over depending on where the lines come out.
Davidson vs. VCU
We will get an early barometer of which side of the ball matters when the best offense in the conference matches up with the best defense.
Davidson has won four of the last six meetings. However, the home team has won six of the last seven in this series.
With that said, I would lean toward Davidson.